U.S. Helping “Legitimate Governments” in Latin America to Prevent Protests from “Morphing into Riots”

December 2, 2019

Chile, Photo: Rodrigo Garrido

U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said Monday that Washington is going to help “legitimate governments” in Latin America to prevent protests taking place in several countries from “morphing into riots.”

Concerning demonstrations in some countries, he also said those riots are not an expression of “people’s democratic will.”

Pompeo said these statements today during a speech at the University of Louisville. He is delivering these statements as people are rebelling against neoliberal economic policies in Chile and Colombia, as well as protests that erupted in Ecuador last October; all of these countries are U.S. allies and neo liberal projects.

Meanwhile thousands of people are protesting in Bolivia against the de facto government of self-proclaimed president Jeanine Añez, in office since the coup d’état against President Evo Morales and recognized as interim president of that country by the U.S.

The attacks against demonstrations in Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador have been denounced internationally for the level of repression along with many deaths in these countries. Pompeo said the State’s response reflect the “character of legitimate democratic governments.”

He went on to say that U.S. policy in Latin America is based on “moral and strategic clarity,” meaning  that from Washington’s point of view it “cannot tolerate” regimes it deems unsatisfactory in the region.

Therefore, Pompeo is justifying U.S. intervention on anti-riot efforts boasting that his country represents “the greatest example of democracy in the history of the world.”

Cuba and Venezuela, Instigators

According to Pompeo, in agreement with statements delivered by authorities in those countries, Cuba and Venezuela are being blamed for  provoking violence and riots in these territories.

Pompeo insinuated that all would be fine if  Havana and Caracas weren’t “hijacking those protests” and trying to turn democracies allied to the U.S. into “dictatorships.”

Taking it even further Secretary of State  accused Russia of being a “malign” influence in Latin America.

Pompeo’s statements are in tune with the actions taken by the U.S. earlier this year in the region. Washington has backed self-proclaimed presidents in Bolivia and Venezuela, Añez and Juan Guaido, respectively; in turn, popular uprisings in Ecuador, Chile and Colombia have been disregarded, referring to them as “riots” or “violent actions.”

Uprisings

The unrest in Ecuador last October developed when the Lenin Moreno Administration eliminated fuel subsidies to meet the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which loaned over $4.2 billion dollars to this country. Demonstrations forced the government to back down but resulted in at least 11 deaths.

In Chile, demonstrations erupted on October 18 initially against an increase in the Santiago Subway fares. The Sebastian Piñera Administration retracted the measure but people are now demanding historic demands related to their political system, health, pensions, education and having a say in a new constitution. To date, 23 people have died and thousands wounded and arrested most of them due to police repression.

In Bolivia, demonstrations started on October 20 when the opposition refused to accept the results of the presidential election, in which President Evo Morales was reelected for a new term in office by a wide margin. A coup ensued carried out by the Oligarchy, the military and orchestrated by the US, sending President Morales into exile, since November 10 at least 34 deaths have been recorded.

Meanwhile, unrest in Colombia began last November 21st, when a general strike was convened. Demonstrations have not ceased. The protestors have several demands including reforms to the labor system, taxes and pensions; fulfilling the peace agreements between the Government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); a minimum wage that allows to have a decent life and covers the market basket; and to stop the epidemic of  murders of social leaders in the country.

Source: RT, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau